THE SYNERGY OF GEOGRAPHY AND DATA

Written by: Jordan Pesusich

FirmWorks' very own Kevin Flynn, Jordan is a software enthusiast and technophile who enjoys writing code to run on anything from a microcontroller to cloud infrastructure. A certified Salesforce Platform Developer I + II, Administrator, and Platform App Builder, as well as an extensive list of coding languages, too many to name, he lives and breathes the coding matrix of the ecosystem developing solutions and efficiencies that bring magic to the mundane.

March 5, 2024

Why Do We Care Where?

In the world of interrogatory words, ‘where’ falls somewhere in the middle with respect to the order of importance. Not nearly on the level of ‘why’, but certainly well above ‘which’. But, when it comes to your data, ‘where’ leaps right up near the top of the list.

Why? … told you it was important … Geographical context informs so much of a business’s processes and operations without anyone really realizing it.

  • Personalization: Companies tailor their products and/or services based specifically on the location of their client/customer base
  • Targeted Marketing: This type of data helps inform marketing efforts more effectively
  • Logistics & Operations: It is crucial to logistical and operational planning by helping businesses optimize delivery and sales routes, as well as providing insight on customer density for store locations and managing inventory.
  • Customer Insights: It illustrates customer behavior and preferences, which can in turn help to expand into new markets or adjust current sales operations.

When it comes to YOUR business, geolocation is so much more than a client or customer’s latitude and longitude. It is like a digital treasure map that can lead you to untold riches. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it isn’t far off from the truth, which is why accessing this data can be complicated and costly.

In Salesforce, geocoding information typically isn’t displayed directly on a record in the user interface. Instead, geocoding is used behind the scenes to associate geographical coordinates with addresses stored in specific fields on records. When you input an address into certain address fields on a Salesforce record (such as Account, Contact, or Lead records), Salesforce can automatically geocode that address, meaning it calculates the corresponding coordinates for that address. These coordinates are then stored in hidden fields within the record.

While you won’t see the geocoding information directly on the record page, it’s used in various features and functionalities within Salesforce, such as mapping integrations, like Google Maps or MapQuest. Both are free … to a point. Both Google Maps and MapQuest offer free tiers of API calls, but once you breach that threshold it will cost you and, depending on your business model and usage, it can be quite a bit.

 

Salesforce + Geocode

Salesforce provides a nifty way to geocode your data, using Data Integration Rules (DIR). DIR is a tool that helps organize and connect data in a simple and efficient way. Here’s a simple explanation:

Imagine you have a big box of puzzle pieces, each representing a different part of your data, like customer information or sales records. These puzzle pieces have special rules attached to them, saying where they should fit in your overall picture.

Data Integration Rules act like a guide that helps you put these puzzle pieces together correctly. It tells Salesforce how to match up pieces of data based on specific criteria, like addresses or names. Once these rules are set up, Salesforce automatically organizes your data according to these guidelines, making it easier for you to find and use the information you need.

In short, DIR helps Salesforce users make sense of their data by setting up rules for how different pieces of information should be connected and organized. Got it?

Now, while it is great that Salesforce provides a way for some standard objects to be geocoded, it does require some custom development and a geocoding API to geocode any custom objects or fields.

So what’s the next step?

Well, now that we understand that the integration of geography and data is not merely a matter of pinpointing coordinates; it’s a strategic imperative for businesses seeking to thrive in today’s data-driven landscape. Understanding the significance of “where” unlocks a myriad of opportunities across personalization, targeted marketing, logistics, and customer insights. Geolocation can operate as a digital treasure map, which guides businesses to valuable insights and operational efficiencies.

While platforms like Salesforce offer tools for geocoding data, unlocking its full potential may require additional customization and investment…or does it? What if I told you that we’ve developed a FREE application that can help you continue to explore the synergy between geography and data and an opportunity for continued innovation and growth?

Stay tuned for our next post where we will show you just how we can that is possible with FirmWorks Geo.

Want to give it a try? Let us know at info@getfirmworks.com and we’ll get the power of geography in your hands today!

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